Don't Tell Sophia consistently good ahead of Breeders' Cup

Phil Sims is good humored enough to joke about the 'trainer speak' that his brethren often use when asked to describe their horses' morning works.

All kidding aside, the conditioner and co-owner of Grade I winner Don't Tell Sophia declared he got just what he hoped for from the 6-year-old mare after she worked 4 furlongs in 48 flat Friday morning in her final major move before the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 31.

With jockey Joe Rocco Jr. in the irons, Don't Tell Sophia posted splits of 12.40, 24.20 and galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:02. It was the second move for the daughter of Congaree since her victory in the Grade I Juddmonte Spinster on Oct. 5.

"We're not trying to do anything too crazy, we're just trying to get there," Sims said of the work. "She's fit, her gallops keep her conditioned."

Owned by Sims and Jerry Namy, Don't Tell Sophia is scheduled to fly out of Louisville Sunday morning to Santa Anita.

With champion and defending Distaff heroine Beholder ruled out of this year's race after spiking a fever, and multiple Grade I winner Close Hatches throwing in a clunker when she finished fourth in the Spinster, Don't Tell Sophia will be a live dark horse in her Breeders' Cup run.

Physically, the imposing bay mare has never been in as consistently good a form as she currently is. What does concern Sims is the thought of her trying to unleash her closing kick over a typically speed-favoring Santa Anita track.

"It's always a concern, but we don't want to take her out of her element," Sims said. "That track being a speed bias is not in her favor, but there being a lot of early pace in the race is in our favor. This mare has such a strong run when she makes it, she goes."

Ria Antonia, second in the Spinster and winner of the 2013 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies via disqualification, also had her final pre-Distaff tune up, working a half-mile in a bullet 47.60 at Keeneland on Friday.

Working with blinkers on, Ria Antonia produced a first quarter-mile in :23.20 and galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:00.40.

"It was very good," said trainer Tom Amoss, who added Ria Antonia will ship to Santa Anita on Tuesday from Louisville. "She did it in hand and the key thing was the rider was just sitting on her. That was exactly what we were looking for."